Metro Budget Includes $200K Fairgrounds Subsidy - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Budget Includes $200K Fairgrounds Subsidy

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Inside Metro Council's newly approved $1.8 billion operating budget could be a sign of upcoming changes at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

The budget approved by the Council Tuesday night added $702,200 to Mayor Karl Dean's originally proposed plan.  It also included a $200,000 taxpayer funded subsidy for the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. 

However, the money will only be available after the Council approves the Fairgrounds Master Plan.  Fairgrounds Executive Director Buck Dozier said this may mean the wheels are turning for some much needed improvements at the city-owned property.

"I think there's a lot on the table for Nashville, and a lot for our decision makers in the next few months," said Dozier.  "This is a valuable piece of property here."

Dozier admitted the 107-year-old fairgrounds are showing signs of wear and tear.  The $200,000 will be used to repair and maintain existing buildings, which Dozier believes in turn, will make the fairgrounds a more appealing place for events.

"Anytime you go out and promote business in here, you promote your facility," said Dozier. "I think more than anything, this money will help that."

While the money will help sustain the fairgrounds until April, Dozier believes a long term solution needs to be finalized soon. 

The Master Plan before council members includes a variety of options ranging from renovating current facilities to completely redeveloping the area.  It is unknown when the Council will discuss and vote on a possible plan.

"I do believe, at least, everyone's listening and concerned about the place," said Dozier.  "The status quo, or not doing anything, isn't really a good option."

The budget will take effect at the start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.


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